Back in November of 2021, Hybe and Geffen partnered to create a U.S.-based girl group, inviting females between the ages of 15 and 19 to audition. Now, about two years and 120,000 submissions later, the companies have revealed the identities of 20 finalists and teed up the premiere of an “audition program.”
The BTS agency Hybe and the Universal Music-owned label provided an update on the act’s years-long formation process – and shed light upon the top-20 artists at hand – via a release that was emailed to DMN.
Regarding the nearly 24 months between the announcement of the “unprecedented girl group” and today’s news, the involved companies made clear from the outset that participating professionals would be required to dive into a decidedly all-encompassing boot camp of sorts.
“HYBE and UMG will collectively emphasize artist development through components such as music and performance training as well as life skills training,” Hybe and Geffen communicated in November of 2021, “including mental wellness and music business and financial literacy, to lead a rewarding and sustaining career.”
Having been “quietly training over the last year in Los Angeles,” the mentioned top-20 contestants hail “from diverse countries” and will see their journeys charted in an as-yet-untitled Netflix docuseries in 2024, per Geffen and Hybe.
Before then, though, the previously noted “audition program,” entitled The Debut: Dream Academy, will arrive on YouTube (and on ABEMA in Japan) on September 1st. Scheduled to run for 12 weeks and wrap with a live finale on November 17th, The Debut will specifically center on the participants’ vying “for a spot in the final group,” per the description from Geffen and Hybe.
Dramatic verbiage aside, it stands to reason that all 20 of the long-training individuals, possessing an imminent opportunity for exposure to millions of fans, will in one form or another look to establish a presence among supporters within the quick-expanding K-pop sphere.
In any event, viewers will have the chance to vote for their favorite prospective members on TikTok as well as Hybe’s WeVerse. “Alongside fan voting,” Hybe and Geffen elaborated of the selection process, “a panel of experienced evaluators will offer valuable feedback and guidance to the contestants, playing an essential role in shaping the growth and development of these talented young women.”
Lastly, once the finale is in the books, the companies will announce the aforesaid final group and its name, according to execs, who didn’t disclose the lineup’s precise size or a timetable for an initial music release. Hybe and Geffen also held a press event about the forthcoming act and rolled out a seven-minute “art film” introducing The Debut: Dream Academy.
The scripted video, the first minute of which shows the artists rather conspicuously wearing Adidas footwear, using Samsung mobile devices, staying hydrated with Vitamin Water, and indulging in Pringles for good measure, had racked up almost 800,000 views at the time of this writing.